Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 04:09
Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments have been blowing up the Internet since the secretly taped speech hit the newswire last week.
The remarks and the firestorm are completely separate issues from one another, but each is intriguing in its own sense and deserving to be dissected independent of the other.
Here’s the recap in case your political knowledge is based entirely on the new Will Ferrell flick: Romney was recorded on tape saying that nearly half of the United States is not his concern because they do not pay income taxes due to their occupational status and family situation. He said those people are practically guaranteed to vote against him.
The funny part of the whole situation is that nothing he said was particularly incorrect. He’s right that there is a considerable portion of the country that is not taxed, and that they are not likely to vote for him. He certainly knows quite a bit about taxes, having had some of his tax activities called into question.
The main problem Romney faces after the quote is regaining some of the votes he inevitably lost from the people who he was describing. He singled out those who are retired, and I would venture to say most of us have a conservative-leaning grandparent or two. I doubt he lost those who were already firmly in his camp, but he did not do himself any favors in the conservative demographic, as some have questioned his competency to run an effective campaign.
The way that the Obama camp has taken this situation and run with it has also changed the outlook of the coming election. Despite the positivity the president’s supporters tout, the fact of the matter is that the operation is trying to use the comments to run Romney’s campaign into the ground.
I had been fairly impressed with the job Obama’s people did in avoiding smear ads (for the most part) until these particular quotes were pasted all over the president’s advertising campaign. The quotes have been blown out of proportion in hopes of alienating potential voters from Romney.
The measures taken by the Obama campaign will certainly turn some undecided voters away from the GOP candidate. Exposing people to a quote as blunt as Romney’s is politically advantageous. However, I can’t help but think there are some people who would find the political strategy disappointing, coming from a campaign that has preached positivity, hope and change from its inception.
Both Romney’s statement and Obama’s reaction to it have me shaking my head at the state of politics in our country. The cynicism is frustrating, but it is also inevitable. My belief in the people may be purely naïveté, but it is still aflame, even with the darkness of skepticism closing in rapidly to snuff it out.
— Michael Nowels is a junior elementary education major and a weekly columnist for The Mirror.